Fantasy Baseball 2021 Starting Pitcher Rankings

Traditionally, I’ve been a wait-on-pitching type of drafter — scooping up three or four exciting bats before even thinking about addressing the rotation. The lack of volume and perhaps the sheer awesome-ness that is a top tier led by Jacob deGrom has changed things here just a bit. DeGrom, Shane Bieber and Gerrit Cole have become first-round staples as we navigate a pre-season riddled with questions on innings caps. One thing that is certain now that we know that the will be no DH in the NL, deGrom comfortably sits atop this list.

The second tier is where things get truly interesting. Just about everyone ranks Yu Darvish, Trevor Bauer, Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, Lucas Giolito and Clayton Kershaw as the next handful of arms, but there is absolutely no consensus on who is at the top of the tier. Nola, Darvish and Scherzer were in consideration for the four spot on my list and, despite some health concerns and performance concerns, Max Scherzer continues to occupy that position. Everything went in the wrong direction in 2020 for Max, his K% dipped to a five-year low (albeit at a still excellent 31.2%). He also walked more guys, allowed more hits and homers than in any point since he joined the Nationals. Still, the velocity is just fine, the strikeouts remain elite and we’re banking on Scherzer getting right as he shakes off a forgettable 2020.

As we navigate the lower tiers. I’m planning to leave the draft table with one or two arms from the top couple of tiers while going offense-heavy in the top-100 picks. Beyond that, there are a ton of interesting names, many of which may not survive April on my roster.

ADP Targets

In what will become a theme in this section we look to a couple of grizzled veterans — Max Scherzer (23) and Clayton Kershaw (31) — as two of the names that jump out in the first couple of rounds. Layne Lynn (54) is probably my most-owned pitcher thanks to what should be very reliable innings volume paired with perennially underrated consistency. Kenta Maeda (49) also sticks around a bit longer than his recent performance should allow and can be a nice value after the top-10 is off the board. Digging deeper, I am in on Stephen Strasburg (63) and if your draft room is scared by his constant health concerns, he’s a fine number two if paired with a more stable ace.

Charlie Morton (116), Zack Grienke (97) and Patrick Corbin (126) all get the boring-vet discount but have all the tools to return top-15 value. On the opposite end of his career, Sandy Alcantara (136) leads an up and coming Marlins rotation and is the one you want on your fantasy roster.

In the later rounds, we’re interested in a return from Corey Kluber (150) and Marcus Stroman (202). John Means (264) showed promise down the stretch in 2020. Mike Minor (294) is throwing harder and can offer volume with decent Ks. Robbie Ray (283) looks solid in the spring and Freddy Peralta (312) looks like he might finally get another shot in the rotation.

Top 120-ish Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2021

Tier 1
1Jacob deGromNYM
2Shane BieberCLE
3Gerrit ColeNYY
Tier 2
4Max ScherzerWSH
5Yu DarvishSD
6Aaron NolaPHI
7Trevor BauerLAD
8Walker BuehlerLAD
9Lucas GiolitoCWS
10Clayton KershawLAD
Tier 3
11Luis CastilloCIN
12Lance LynnCWS
13Brandon WoodruffMIL
14Stephen StrasburgWSH
15Kenta MaedaMIN
16Blake SnellSD
17Tyler GlasnowTB
18Jack FlahertySTL
Tier 4
19Kyle HendricksCHC
20Zack WheelerPHI
21Corbin BurnesMIL
22Sonny GrayCIN
23Charlie MortonATL
24Zack GreinkeHOU
25Hyun Jin RyuTOR
26Zac GallenARI
27Dinelson LametSD
28Carlos CarrascoNYM
29Max FriedATL
30Jose BerriosMIN
31Zach PlesacCLE
Tier 5
32Joe MusgroveSD
33Chris PaddackSD
34Sandy AlcantaraMIA
35Ian AndersonATL
36Frankie MontasOAK
37Patrick CorbinWSH
38Lance McCullers Jr.HOU
39Chris BassittOAK
40Dylan BundyLAA
41Sixto SanchezMIA
42John MeansBAL
43Corey KluberNYY
44Pablo LopezMIA
45David PriceLAD
46Marco GonzalesSEA
47Marcus StromanNYM
48Jesus LuzardoOAK
49Jameson TaillonNYY
50German MarquezCOL
51Jose UrquidyHOU
52Shohei OhtaniLAA
53Julio UriasLAD
54Zach EflinPHI
Tier 6
55Mike SorokaATL
56James PaxtonSEA
57Matthew BoydDET
58Aaron CivaleCLE
59Tyler MahleCIN
60Triston McKenzieCLE
61Andrew HeaneyLAA
62Dallas KeuchelCWS
63Tony GonsolinLAD
64Freddy PeraltaMIL
65Jordan MontgomeryNYY
66Dustin MayLAD
67Noah SyndergaardNYM
68Luis SeverinoNYY
69Chris SaleBOS
70Kevin GausmanSF
71Cristian JavierHOU
72Eduardo RodriguezBOS
73Mitch KellerPIT
74Brady SingerKC
75Mike MinorKC
76Michael PinedaMIN
77Sean ManaeaOAK
78Zach DaviesCHC
79Daulton JefferiesOAK
80Griffin CanningLAA
81Nathan EovaldiBOS
82Yusei KikuchiSEA
83Robbie RayTOR
84Jake OdorizziHOU
85Carlos MartinezSTL
86Ryan YarbroughTB
87J.A. HappMIN
88Kwang Hyun KimSTL
89Framber ValdezHOU
90MacKenzie GoreSD
91Adbert AlzolayCHC
92Michael KopechCWS
93Elieser HernandezMIA
94Josh LindblomMIL
95Drew SmylyATL
96Brad KellerKC
97Spencer HowardPHI
98Justus SheffieldSEA
99Tarik SkubalDET
100Madison BumgarnerARI
101Gregory SotoDET
102Diego CastilloTB
103Taijuan WalkerNYM
104Domingo GermanNYY
105Drew PomeranzSD
106Deivi GarciaNYY
107Tejay AntoneCIN
108Randy DobnakMIN
109Nate PearsonTOR
110Spencer TurnbullDET
111Chris ArcherTB
112Rich HillTB
113Logan WebbSF
114Caleb SmithARI
115Dane DunningTEX
116Mike FoltynewiczTEX
117Casey MizeDET
118Tanner HouckBOS
119Dylan CeaseCWS
120Jon GrayCOL
121Luke WeaverARI
122Seth LugoNYM
123Kris BubicKC
124Miles MikolasSTL
125Adam WainwrightSTL
126Ross StriplingTOR
127Dean KremerBAL
128Chad GreenNYY
129Garrett RichardsBOS
130Trevor RogersMIA
131Alec MillsCHC
132Matt ShoemakerMIN
133David PetersonNYM
134Johnny CuetoSF
135Kyle GibsonTEX
136Nick PivettaBOS
137Matt MoorePHI
138Jakob JunisKC
139Chase AndersonPHI
140Alex WoodSF
141Merrill KellyARI
142JT BrubakerPIT
143Chad KuhlPIT
144Jake ArrietaCHC
145Jaime BarriaLAA

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